Jon Thorson - Ph.D.
Jon received his B.A. degree in chemistry (1986) from Augsburg College and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry (1993) from the University of Minnesota with Professor Hung-wen (Ben) Liu. He held a postdoctoral appointment as a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (1993-1996) at the University of California, Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz. From 1996-2001, Jon held appointments as an assistant member of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and assistant professor of Sloan-Kettering Division, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University. In 2001 Professor Thorson moved to the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and during his tenure with UW, Jon was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Center for Natural Products Research, the NCI-supported UW National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group and the NATPRO Protein Structure Initiative. Professor Thorson joined the UK College of Pharmacy in the Fall of 2011 where he serves as the first director of the new UK Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation. Professor Thorson also currently serves as the co-Director of the Markey Cancer Center’s Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics Program and co-Director of the Drug Discovery and Development Core in the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science. His research interests include understanding and exploiting biosynthetic pathways and enzyme mechanisms, bioorganic and chemoselective ligation chemistries, enzyme engineering and evolution, natural products discovery and bioprospecting. Professor Thorson has also been credited with establishing the general area of natural product glycorandomization and is a co-founder of the Madison-based biotechnology company Centrose.
- Synthetic and Biological Chemistry B (SBCB) Study Section Chair (2014-present)
- NIH MERIT Award (2012-present)
- UKCMC Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation (2011-present)
- Synthetic and Biological Chemistry B (SBCB) Study Section Member (2010-present)
- Laura and Edward Kremers Chair in Natural Products Chemistry (2009-2011)
- H.I. Romnes Fellow (2004-2009)
- Brainerd Distinguished Achievement Award (2005)
- American Society of Pharmacognosy Matt Suffness Young Investigator Award (2004)
- Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2000-2002)
- Rita Allen Foundation Scholar (1998-2002)
- Augsburg College Education for Service Alumni Award (1997)
2015 (all publications):
- Elshahawi SI (co-first author), Shaaban KA (co-first author), Kharel MK, Thorson JS. A comprehensive review of glycosylated bacterial natural products. Chemical Society Reviews 2015, doi:10.1039/c4cs00426d.
- Tam HK, Härle J, Gerhardt S, Rohr J, Wang G, Thorson JS, Bigot A, Lutterbeck M, Seiche W, Breit B, Bechthold A, Einsle O. Structural characterization of O- and C-glycosylating variants of the landomycin glycosyltransferase LanGT2. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2015, 54, 2811-2815. PMC Journal In Process
1998-2014 (representative selection from each year):
- Singh S, Zhang J, Huber TD, Sunkara M, Hurley K, Goff RD, Wang G, Zhang W, Liu C, Rohr J, Van Lanen SG, Morris AJ, Thorson JS. Facile strategies for the synthesis and utilization of S-adenosyl-L-methionine analogs. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2014, 53, 3965-3969. PMCID: PMC4076696
- Gantt RW, Peltier-Pain P, Singh S, Zhou M, Thorson JS. Broadening the scope of glycosyltransferase-catalyzed sugar nucleotide synthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013, 110, 7648-7653. PMCID: PMC3651490
- Peltier-Pain P, Marchillo K, Zhou M, Andes DR, Thorson JS. Natural product disaccharide engineering through tandem glycosyltransferase catalysis reversibility and neoglycosylation. Org. Lett. 2012, 14, 5086-5089. PMCID: PMC3489467
- Gantt RW, Peltier-Pain P, Cournoyer WJ, Thorson JS. Using simple donors to drive the equilibria of glycosyltransferase-catalyzed reactions. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2011, 7, 685-689. PMCID: PMC3177962
- Goff RD, Thorson JS. An assessment of chemoselective neoglycosylation methods using chlorambucil as a model. J. Med. Chem. 2010, 53, 8129-8139. PCMID: PMC2988911
- Goff RD, Thorson JS. Enhancing the divergent activities of betulinic acid via neoglycosylation. Org. Lett. 2009, 11, 461-464. PCMID: PMC2704577
- Gantt RW, Goff RD, Williams GJ, Thorson JS. Probing the aglycon promiscuity of an engineered glycosyltransferase. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8889-8892. PCMID: PMC2963038
- Williams GJ, Zhang C, Thorson JS. Expanding the promiscuity of a natural product glycosyltransferase by directed evolution. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2007, 3, 657-662.
- Zhang C, Griffith BR, Fu Q, Albermann C, Fu X, Lee IK, Li L, Thorson JS. Exploiting the reversibility of natural product glycosyltransferase-catalyzed reactions. Science 2006, 313, 1291-1294.
- Langenhan JM, Peters NR, Guzei IA, Hoffmann FM, Thorson JS. Enhancing the anti-cancer properties of cardiac glycosides via neoglycorandomization. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005, 102, 12305-12310.
- Bililign T, Hyun C-G, Williams JS, Czisny AM, Thorson, JS. The hedamycin locus implicates a novel aromatic PKS priming mechanism. Chem. & Biol. 2004, 11, 959-969.
- Biggins JB, Onwueme KC, Thorson JS. The Mechanism of CalC: Resistance to enediyne antitumor antibiotics by self-sacrifice. Science 2003, 301, 1537-1541.
- Ahlert J, Shepard EM, Lomovskaya N, Zazopoulos E, Staffa A, Bachmann BO, Huang K, Yang X, Fonstein L, Czisny A, Whitwam RE, Farnet CM, Thorson JS. The calicheamicin gene cluster and its iterative type I enediyne PKS, Science 2002, 297, 1173-1176.
- Barton WA, Biggins JB, Lesniak J, Jeffrey PD, Jiang J, Rajashankar KR, Thorson JS, Nikolov DB. Structure, mechanism and active-site engineering of a nucleotidylyltransferase: The first step in the glycorandomization of natural product-based metabolites. Nat. Struct. Biol. 2001, 8, 2223-2226.
- Biggins JB, Prudent JR, Marshall DJ, Ruppen M, Thorson JS. A continuous assay for DNA cleavage: The application of “break lights” to enediynes, iron-dependent agents and nucleases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2000, 97, 13537-13542.
- Zhao L, Ahlert J, Xue Y, Thorson JS, Sherman DH, Liu H-w. Engineering a methymycin/pikromycin-calicheamicin hybrid: Construction of two new macrolides carrying a designed sugar moiety. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, 121, 9881-9882.
- Zhao Y, Biggins JB, Thorson JS. Acceptor specificity of Salmonella GDP-Man:alpha-LRha-(1-3)-alpha-DGal-PP-Und beta-4-mannosyltransferase: A simplified assay based upon unnatural acceptors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1998, 120, 12986-12987.